Last week, Path to Positive launched a new, targeted initiative to help empower communities to take action on climate change in Los Angeles. Focusing on business, higher education, faith, health, and civic leaders—the plan aims to explore climate solutions that can be implemented throughout the LA region.
Path to Positive: Los Angeles was given a burst of momentum last month when Pope Francis issued “Laudato Si,” or his encyclical on climate change. The message focused on the moral and spiritual imperative of addressing the growing threats posed by climate change, and called on religious and community officials to help lead the way. And many leaders have.
Los Angeles has some of the most polluted neighborhoods in the country. The city also has a large Catholic population. This has made the Pope’s message resonate throughout the greater Los Angeles region, and has inspired community action.
Churches are increasingly stimulating important conversations on environmental stewardship with their congregations. With the help of civic and community leaders, they have emphasized the need to depoliticize climate change, and focus efforts on climate solutions in their neighborhoods. The members of the congregations have responded with enthusiasm, leading efforts to gather signatures to petition local government officials.
The Pope’s message has helped empower church and community leaders to develop climate action plans, and so far progress has been made. It is through strong leadership, and sustained efforts by communities that climate solutions will be achieved.
Two young men performed their songs on acoustic guitars in Spanish while the rally chanted along in front of St. Basil Catholic Church in Los Angeles.
Even though not everyone in the crowd of around 30 people knew Spanish, the message transcended language: protect the most vulnerable from the effects of climate change.
After the June 18 release of “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and humanity’s responsibility to protect it, young Catholics decided to host a rally to spread awareness of climate change’s effect on the poor, particularly Latinos in Southern California. Some Catholics are hopeful that events like this, inspired by the encyclical, will spread and lead to a new emphasis on climate action within the faith.
Members of the youth group Pastoral Juvenil of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles gathered in front of St. Basil on the morning of June 27 to share what was written in the encyclical and encourage onlookers to participate.